Thursday, November 15, 2007

Allegheny Conference on Community Development Review 2007

I should have known the horror I was in for when the Allegheny Conference on Community Development annual meeting began with a bagpipe solo.

If you recall, last year, the Conference began with a musical number. I'm happy to report that they decided to forgo a repeat of last year's Tony ignored performance and replaced it with a comedy sketch between Washington and Forbes.

You can't make these kinds of things up, folks.

I can't quite remember if it was the forced dramatic irony in which they juxtaposed 1758 Western Pennsylvania with modern Pittsburgh (Forbes Avenue, Most Livable City, Pirmanti Brothers, Terrible Towel, etc.) or the stilted delivery which bothered me more and made me want to drive an ice pick into my skull.

No, wait, the delivery was fine... it was the material that was awful. Next year, I'll have Christopher Rawson do the review for me.

And, by the way, Messrs. Bannon, Coll, & Flanagan: the blockhouse was built following the construction of Fort Pitt. I mean, if you're going to throw out anachronisms, at least get them right.

Anyway, despite all the mean, mean things that the Tribune-Review says about him, Jim Rohr is a very entertaining speaker, especially given the awful, horrible, no-good material he has to work with. I mean, they didn't even do a good job in trying to hide the fact that they basically stole a whole bunch of last year's slides. Yours truly actually remembers the bizarre 20-24 age cohort as compared to Boston or the weird corporate net-income tax graph; I know a recycled PowerPoint presentation when I see one.

At least, however, Mr. Rohr is fully aware that he is the only person standing between those assembled and the open bar. [He's also aware that those assembled are the only people standing between him and the bar.]

Still, it was a bit upsetting to see that the ACCD was only measuring a C+ average when compared against its 2006 goals. It did receive an A+, however, in only being an hour and a half long.

Back in my day, these things lasted for seven days straight.

CEO Mike Langley didn't have much to say, however, the statistics he pulled out that the per capita income in the region moved up from 60th place in the country to 48th place, merely seemed to indicate that we have a lot of retired and/or dead people out there. [If you mess with the denominator, your percentage looks better, faster.] I'm upset by the fact that they didn't draw the obvious conclusion: we should kill all the employed old people.

Susan McGalla and David Malone, who spoke on Education and "The Pittsburgh Regional Compact" need to learn that (a) they need not wear such ridiculous outfits and (b) together they are duller than a ball peen hammer. Additionally, the Pittsburgh Regional Compact using a spiky haired, headphone wearing, back pack clad stick figure to represent the region's youth is ridiculous.

Youth today have iPods.

Glad to see that former O'Connor appointee Paul Leger has found his way back to the conference, however, even if it was working on this area.

My summary of the Taxes and Regulation's section is as follows: "Dull... dull... dull... competive access to power... dull... clean air... dull... high corporate income tax rate... incoherent slides.

From the Local Government committee we find out that Southwestern PA has more governmental organizations that 22 state, that the ACCD has kinda blown off the City/County merger thing, we have a dysfunctional EITC collection system, and that this meeting is so important that the Mayor of Pittsburgh has decided to blow it off.... probably in favor of another golf game.

I am upset that, once again, ACCD did not actively advocate for conquering Mt. Oliver and burning it to the ground.

From the Transportation cohort, we are informed that PAT drivers have salaries that are too high and benefits that are too generous. It sounds like if it were up to the ACCD, PAT employees would be flogged with reeds or drawn and quartered.

As a blast from the bast, there was further hand-wringing over the airport, only this time it was about not having a major hub... even though originations and departures were up.

China apparently has agreed to a cargo shipping route with Pittsburgh, making us a major import hub for the East, and also relieving the region of its feral cat problem.

Oh, and we should all leave Pittsburgh on airlines that service people... like... immediately.

From the business development side, it seems that the best place in public service is the PRA, which is undertaking a junket to Europe with the PSO and a trip to India.

For what it's worth, I get to go to Overbrook next week... if I'm lucky.

From the marketing department: Image is up, Weeds is inexplicably good, Imagine That! is horribly designed, Trucks are good, and the Pittsburgh 250 ads are probably worth mocking.

Speaking of which, did you know that the ice cream scope was invented by a Pittsburgher... who was Black? These are other awkwardly conspicuous gender and racial facts can be found in the ACCD Pittsburgh 250 chronology.

But, to that end, the following Pittsburgh 250 events are taking place in the coming year: the opening of Point State Park, a Pennsylvanian "Tour de France" but in PA, a festival of lights, a wedding vow renewal, David McCullough will be brought out of deep storage, the Carnegie International, cake, lead will be turned into gold, and Murray Gerber will rant endlessly about the state of education in the region.

So, on the whole, it wasn't a bad night... and "Bassmaster" was only said once.

And the reception was good this year, even though Larry Dunn looked lonely again.

1 comment:

Julian Dobson said...

Fascinating to see how Sheffield's US counterpart is struggling with the same conundrums. I'm told that if enough people bang their heads against the same brick walls for long enough, the walls do eventually come down. Sometime soon I'll start posting on Sheffield's economic masterplan...